Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Existentialist Piece

The creative fiction pieces I'm posting are all from Creative Writing Club. Just a heads up, as there's more to come.

This is an existentialist piece that I wrote while we were sitting outside during Creative Writing Club. It basically expresses my beliefs.

"We're all going to die. There is no God and no afterlife; just the here and now. Everything is just as it seems. No matter how hard you try, this won't change. Bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. Feelings can be gotten over. Words are just words, so stop talking. Do what you can and accept your humanity. Stop killing. NOW." And then I walked off the stage with the press stunned.

See what I did there with the twist ending? Extreme characterization sprung on you with one sentence! When I was reading this, a bug flew into my mouth. I resolve to never write in nature again. Also, one of the students said it wasn't a creative piece because there were no literary elements! The nerve of her! I had distinct characterization! Then she went on to read some emotional stuff that had no meaning. Yeah, it had more literary elements than mine did, but it was BAD. Do we now measure how good a piece is by how many of something it has?

Monday, April 28, 2008


I made this story when my English teacher asked me to make a story about fate controlling one's life. Anything that may seem wrong, say in the grammar IS ON PURPOSE.

John sat alone on the canvas seat of the daughter's swing. The cool metal of the chains felt refreshing in contrast to the Summer weather. He effortlessly swung back and forth, moving his feet to and fro. Then, just as he had done every day for the last month, John started to pump his legs back and forth with all of his energy. He wanted the swing set to lift off the ground. Just an inch. But, as swing sets normally do, it held firmly in place. John relaxed his legs and waited until the swing came to a full stop. He got up, drained, and entered the house. He saw the wife and daughter and said, "Good morning." The wife hardly nodded. 
"John, take the trash to the dump."
"Honey, I don't like John. The name is bland and overused. Why won't you call me Jonathan?" The daughter looked up from her cereal with half-concealed eyes, saying, "John, just go to the dump." John turned, knowing that the conversation was over, and looked for his car keys.
"Where are my keys?"
No answer.

After twenty minutes of searching, he finally found them. He got the trash and walked to the car, but he almost felt that he was the trash and the trash dictated where he was going. He started the car and drove towards the dump. A cop car was passing him, and John got a sudden impulse. He floored the gas pedal and went far ahead of the cop. The cop didn't care. Suddenly, the car started smoking and came to a full stop on its own. the cop car whizzed by, paying no mind. "AAAAAAAAAAAA!" he screamed. No one was listening.

Kate Beaton Comics

Wow. These are great comics. One of my favorites is in the title link. She doesn't always have the best punch lines, but she makes a very cool world of understanding history in an accessible and fun way. And the younger self comics remind me of Calvin and Hobbes. Even better, if you ask me! The link to the whole site will be in my "sites I visit daily" column.

Bonk's Adventure Review

When I started playing Bonk’s Adventure (Virtual Console), I expected to see a game to rival Mario and Sonic; A game that stands out above the rest of the boring platformers. Unfortunately, it turns out that Bonk’s Adventure is nothing more than one of the rest of the boring platformers. Yes, it stands out in numerous ways: Bonk’s weapon is his head, he goes through a dinosaur’s intestinal system, there is a way to cheat that is practically spelled out on the controller, it is not mind-numbingly hard, the characters can be described as somewhat comical, and the princess that you are saving is named after Neapolitan flatbread (Princess Za? Really?). Now that the good points are out of the way, let me describe the bulk of it. The storyline was boring and badly explained. I feel like a large portion of the story was not in the game, or the programmers decided not to make anything but bare bones. The graphics were definitely passing, but it looked like an NES game. Nothing too impressive, but the sprites were a bit quirky, so you won’t be too disappointed. Unlike Mario or Sonic, the controls aren’t very smooth. I found myself often rapidly pressing the attack button during recovery of the dive attack while an enemy was coming to swoop down on me. I rarely got up in time. Another issue is level design. Most of the levels are basically flat with a different theme for each, until they start looping backgrounds in later levels. The music was eh. It was standard 16-bit music. Caveman theme, caveman music. Makes sense. It fit the game well, but did not impress. One annoying issue was spots to continue from. It doesn’t tell you where your spot is saved. You just need to die to find out. I went through most of the last world
(to 5-4) and died. The last save was 5-1. I died there twice. Then I got to 5-7, then died. I continued at 5-5! Another problem was this game’s idea of a level. I got through one level in 4-5 seconds. It was a transition to a water stage. That’s what they call a level? Couldn’t they just have ended the previous stage with a puddle? The length was also an eyebrow raiser. I beat it in 2 hours, and I by no means did a speed run! And no, replaying the game isn’t enjoyable either. There are a few secrets to find, but they’re just rooms with a life energy or a jumping game for life energy that isn’t fun.

Did I have fun with this game? Yes. Could I have found a better game to spend my time with? Definitely.

Graphics: 7

Story: 2

Sound: 5

Gameplay: 7

Replay Value: 3

Overall: 5 (Meh. It’s worth a try.)

Student of the Month!

Every month at my school, a few students get picked to be student of the month. I got it for April! My English teacher elected me and I feel so happy. Maybe it was because I shared the lemon soufflé with him...

Sunday, April 27, 2008


I cannot stand Spring. Yeah, the flowers are pretty, and it's getting to be a nice temperature, but God, I have the worst allergies. I stay in the bathroom wiping my nose for large chunks of time, and I feel my life slowly fleeting. I need to find some sort of allergy medicine that actually works. Benedryl is the only medicine that has any real effect, but it makes me sleepy. I hope I'm not going to be sneezy tomorrow when I go back to school...

Eating at Sam's

Tonight I ate at Sam's Restaurant, and I was fairly satisfied. We were breaking the Passover "fast", and I was eager to eat some bread.

When we got there, I had about three pieces of the complimentary bread. It wasn't amazing, but it felt great to have something fluffy again. I also really enjoyed the tomatoes on bread. I always look forward to that. We got the cold antipasto, but it had hardly any vegetables on it. It was mostly a meat plate. It was okay meat, but some of it was hard to chew and it was way too much for an appetizer. Next we got a mushroom pizza. It was very tasty, but the crust was very thin, and I tend to prefer the thicker crusted pizzas. I just don't think that pizzas should be crunchy. It didn't have much cheese, and it was advertised as having many different mushrooms on it, but almost all of them were portobellos. Despite the shortcomings, I really enjoyed it. Before we left I ordered a tartufo. It was the same exact tartufo I had gotten at the Cafe Roma on Arthur Avenue a month or two ago! I had realized that I had been cheated. I enjoyed it when I got it a while ago, but now that I knew its true colors, I felt disgusted. It was a satisfactory, but it tasted kind of manufactured; especially the almonds. We left with full stomachs and I can't say I wasn't happy.

During the dinner, there was a woman at a table nearby who ordered nothing but wine. During the pizza course, she took out her cell phone and called her husband and yelled for a divorce! She even told him to get someone to check the value of all of the books! I'm not sure if she was just too drunk or serious, but I must admit that it was amusing to hear this. I guess I'm a natural eavesdropper.

Mario Kart Wii

A good game? Yes. But haven't they all been? I've played all of the Mario Kart games except for Super Circuit, and so far, they're all pretty much the same. I do admire DS's challenge mode and its secret staff ghosts. I put a lot of time and effort into beating those, but if it were on a home console, I probably would've given up much faster. I played the whole game on car trips, so I guess it was mostly boredom that pushed me to 100% the game. ANYWAY, I've played Mario Kart Wii for about half an hour, and what I feel is that the Wii Wheel is a toy that I'd rather do without. In fact, I'd rather use the control stick. The wheel feels strange in midair. I like how a racing wheel feels in arcades because it's attached to something, it goes back to the original position when you let go, and it's not completely made of plastic. The Wii Wheel is lacking in all of these aspects and the control for Excite Truck was perfectly fine. Not only am I encouraged by the Gamestop employee to buy another Wii Wheel for $15, but I also can't do tricks with the Gamecube or Classic controller. Is Nintendo trying to say that other control styles are looked down upon? The bikes are not as comfortable as the karts, and all of the cool looking karts have worse stats than the standard boring looking karts, so I feel like although there are new things in the game, they don't work as well, so why bother? Sooner or later, I'll just be playing the same old Mario Kart with new stages. At least there's online. Well, actually, I haven't found a Nintendo game with good online play yet, so I guess I won't play online much...

To give a complete review to Mario Kart Wii, I'll have to finish it, so all of the above opinions are subject to change. Check back soon for the full review.

Today in a Nutshell

Basically, I beat Sonic 2, me and my parents entertained their friends over some matzo brei, and I started this blog. I also called Nintendo to see if they could fix my DS which is past the warranty (The touch screen is calibrated wrong, but the calibration test won't work right). They said it would cost $85! This, being the DS that I bought for the same price a year and a half ago because my old DS's l and r buttons stopped working! I like Nintendo, but isn't it a bit mean to ask me to pay AGAIN?

I'm going out to buy Mario Kart Wii soon. I hope it's good!

My School Essay for Ruth Reichl's Book, "Tender at the Bone"

What is food? What is a lemon soufflé? Is it nothing but nourishment? Something that is enjoyed, but then forgotten? No. One never forgets really good food. It is like a painting that is so amazing that its image is permanently burned into our mind. Food is art, just like paintings, although it definitely doesn’t last as long. But then, that’s why we have wine and cheese.

In the book, Ruth Reichl has no idea that food can be so good. She is brought up by a culinary horror of a mom, and the most important property of food at the time is edibility. Her mom, who is crazy in many other ways, decides to send her to a French Canadian boarding school without her knowing any French. She makes a friend there (by sharing cream puffs) and is invited to her house for the weekend. She finds that they are extremely wealthy and eat masterpieces every night. Ruth, being a natural gourmand, loves everything and gets invited back every weekend. On her friend’s father’s birthday, they decide to make him a lemon soufflé. It is quite precise, but her friend had practiced hard and they made a light, fluffy, and creamy soufflé. The father loved it and Ruth had then gone on to be a great chef, then literary critic.

I decide to make my own lemon soufflé with my mother, so we get our ingredients and go to work. There are six eggs that need to be separated perfectly, so I watch as my mom, a soufflé veteran, skillfully cracks the eggs, then pours the yolk into the other half shell over and over again until all of the whites have spilled out. To be so precise and graceful while doing such a fragile task is a skill all cooks strive for. I butter the soufflé pan in a somewhat clumsy and out-of-order way. My mom takes a large hunk of butter and puts it in the pan. It always surprises me how something so light could have so much butter. Now the flour is added and she stirs in the milk. All of this time I have been doing the small tasks like measuring, but I guess that’s just 90% of cooking. We beat the egg whites until there are “soft peaks,” but I’d describe it as waves in a static picture, rising over the rest of the water to inevitably crush all under it. A monstrous egg white mixture indeed. We add the lemon juice, sugar, and vanilla to the pan. I usually drink the leftover lemon juice. It gives me a tingly feeling. Kind of like a shiver down your spine, but in your mouth. Alas, there was no extra lemon juice, so I must wait until the next lemon-based dish. I use a cheese grater to take off the rind of a lemon. When I am done I see lemon as half-nude. It has no more outer protection to keep it warm, but it must go back into the fridge. This is the sour life of a lemon. I add the lemon rind to the pan after the egg yolks are put in. Then the static wave of egg whites comes out of its frozen state and envelops the rest of the concoction. We evenly spread the soon-to-be soufflé in the pan and put it in the oven. Twenty-five minutes later it has browned, but has not risen as high as we expected. It looks delicious, but just not quite how we had hoped. Hours later it has shrunk to half its size and we are a bit disappointed. We take a taste. All disappointment is gone; we congratulate ourselves for a job well done. It has a moist, tender taste. Lemony, but not in a sour way. The butter I had mentioned is doing its job very well. It is so creamy and smooth. It is like a cross between lemon meringue pie and sponge cake. Two very good foods by themselves, and a tremendous food when combined. We all have seconds and are forced to stop, for we have to save some for a teacher. Mission accomplished.

Although Ruth Reichl and I had very different experiences with this one dish, we can both say that they were enormous successes. I will remember this dish for quite a while, and I will be happy to say that I was part of it.

Games I've Beaten

• Duck Hunt*
• Kirby's Adventure
• The Legend of Zelda±
• Mega Man 2
• Mega Man 3
• Mega Man 4
• Mega Man 5
• Mega Man 6
• Q*Bert*
• Super Dodge Ball*
• Super Mario Bros. 3

• Sonic the Hedgehog
• Sonic the Hedgehog 2
• Sonic Spinball

• Chrono Trigger±
• Donkey Kong Country
• Donkey Kong Country 2
• Donkey Kong Country 3
• Earthbound ±
• Harvest Moon*
• Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball
• Kirby Super Star
• The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past ±
• Mario is Missing!
• Mario Paint*
• Mario’s Early Years!: Fun with Letters*
• Mega Man 7
• Mickey’s Ultimate Challenge
• Super Mario Kart
• Super Mario RPG
• Super Mario World
• Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island
• Tetris Attack

Gameboy (Original and Color):
• Donkey Kong
• Kirby’s Pinball Land
• Kirby’s Tilt ‘n’ Tumble
• The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX
• The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages
• The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons
• Mario Tennis
• Pokemon: Blue Version
• Pokemon: Crystal Version
• Pokemon: Gold Version
• Pokemon: Silver Version
• Pokemon: Yellow Version
• Pokemon Pinball*
• Pokemon Trading Card Game
• Super Mario Bros. Deluxe
• Super Mario Land 2
• Survival Kids
• Tetris*

Gameboy Advance:
• Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty’s Revenge ±
• Crash Bandicoot 2: N-tranced
• Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku
• Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
• The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap
• Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga
• Mario Vs. Donkey Kong
• Mega man Battle Network
• Mega man Battle Network 2
• Mother 3
• Nicktoons Racing*
• Pokemon: Ruby Version
• Rhythm Tengoku
• Sonic Advance 2
• Spyro: Season of Flame
• Spyro: Season of Ice±
• Super Mario Advance (Super Mario Bros. 2, Mario Bros.*)
• Super Monkey Ball Jr.
• Wario Land 4
• WarioWare Inc.: Mega Microgame$
• WarioWare Twisted!
• Yoshi: Topsy Turvy

• PaRappa the Rapper
• Tomba!
• Tomba! 2: The Evil Swine Return

Nintendo 64:
• Banjo Kazooie
• Banjo Tooie
• Bomberman Hero
• Conker’s Bad Fur Day
• Cruis’n USA
• Diddy Kong Racing
• Donkey Kong 64
• Hey You, Pikachu!
• Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards
• The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
• The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
• Major League Baseball Starring Ken Griffey Jr.*
• Mario Kart 64
• Mario Party
• Mario Party 2
• Mario Party 3
• Mario Tennis
• Paper Mario
• Pokemon Stadium
• Pokemon Stadium 2
• Star Fox 64
• Super Mario 64
• Super Smash Bros.
• Yoshi’s Story

• Crazy Taxi*
• Jet Set Radio

• Animal Crossing*
• Chibi-Robo!
• Donkey Kong Jungle Beat
• Donkey Konga*
• Donkey Konga 2*
• Evolution Worlds±
• Kirby Air Ride*
• The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker±
• Lego Star Wars
• Mario Kart: Double Dash!!
• Mario Party 4
• Mario Party 7
• Mega man Anniversary Collection (Mega man 1)
• Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
• Pokemon Colosseum±
• Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup±
• Sonic Adventure 2 Battle
• Sonic Adventure DX Director’s Cut
• Sonic Heroes±
• Soul Caliber 2
• Spongebob Squarepants: Revenge of the Flying Dutchman
• Super Mario Sunshine
• Super Monkey Ball 2
• Super Smash Bros. Melee
• Tetris Worlds*
• Wario World

Playstation 2:
• Final Fantasy X
• Guitar Hero
• Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s
• Guitar Hero 2
• Jak and Daxter
• Katamari Damacy
• Kingdom Hearts
• Kingdom Hearts II
• Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix +±
• Mister Mosquito
• Ratchet and Clank
• Ratchet and Clank 2
• Space Channel 5
• Tales of the Abyss
• We Love Katamari

Nintendo DS:
• Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney
• Brain Age*
• Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia
• Contact±
• Disgaea DS
• Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime
• Elite Beat Agents
• Jump Ultimate Stars
• Kirby: Canvas Curse
• The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
• Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time
• Mario Kart DS
• Mario Party DS
• New Super Mario Bros.
• Nintendogs*
• Oendan 2
• Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
• Phoenix Wright: Justice for All
• Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations
• Pokemon: Pearl Version
• Professor Layton and the Curious Village
• Rhythm Tengoku Gold
• Sonic Rush
• Super Mario 64 DS
• Super Princess Peach
• Tetris DS*
• Touch Detective
• Touch Detective 2 ½
• WarioWare Touched!
• Yoshi’s Island DS

• Excite Truck
• The Legend of Zelda: The Twilight Princess
• LostWinds
• Mega Man 9
• Rayman Raving Rabbids
• Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People: Homestar Ruiner
• Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People: Strongbadia the Free
• Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People: Baddest of the Bands
• Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People: Dangeresque 3: The Criminal Projective
• Super Mario Galaxy
• Super Paper Mario
• Super Smash Bros. Brawl
• Trauma Center: Second Opinion
• WarioWare: Smooth Moves
• Wii Sports*
• World of Goo
• Zack & Wiki

• Burnout Dominator
• Gitaroo Man Lives!
• Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
• Lumines*
• Me and My Katamari
• Megaman Maverick Hunter X
• Megaman: Powered Up!
• Patapon
• Worms

Xbox 360:
• Beautiful Katamari
• Burnout Paradise±
• Crackdown±
• Guitar Hero II
• Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock
• Kameo: Elements of Power
• Lego Indiana Jones
• Portal
• Viva Pinata*

Xbox Live Arcade:
• Bomberman Live*
• Carcassonne*
• Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
• Robotron: 2084*
• Uno*
• Wing Commander Arena*
• Worms

• Bionic Commando Rearmed
• The Eye of Judgement*
• LittleBigPlanet
• Mirror's Edge

• Donkey Kong Jr.
• Manhole*
• Pinball*

• Backyard Baseball*
• Carmen Sandiego Math Detective
• Carmen Sandiego Word Detective
• Cave Story
• Civilization II*
• The Cluefinders 3RD Grade Adventures: Mystery of Mathra
• Day of the Tentacle
• The Incredible Machine±
• Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis±
• Jill of the Jungle
• JumpStart 1ST Grade
• JumpStart 2ND Grade
• Mario’s Fundamentals
• Math Blaster
• Putt-Putt Travels Through Time
• Sam and Max Hit the Road
• Sam and Max: Season 1 Episode 1
• Sim City 2000*
• The Sims*
• Snood (Trial Version)*
• Treasure Cove!
• Treasure Mathstorm!
• Treasure Mountain!
• Wacky Jacks
• Worms Armageddon*
• You Don’t Know Jack
• Zoombinis
• Zoombinis: Mountain Rescue

• Tony Hawk’s Underground 2
• Tetris*
• Pacman*

• Galaga 3*
• Mega Man: The Power Battle
• Ms. Pacman*
• Pacman*

Virtual Console
• Bonk’s Adventure
• Gunstar Heroes

*Games with no ending are counted as long as I’ve played them.

±I’ve gotten to the final boss or close, but have not technically beaten it. I count these anyway.

259 games

Hello hello!

Welcome to my new blog. Hopefully this will not turn out as a disaster like most blogs. Feel free to bookmark this and visit the blog as much as possible, as I would like a lot of company.